She stormed down the hallway ahead of me, clutching a silk scarf in her hand, working it between her fingers in a way that told me she was trying to soothe herself from screaming at me. I knew I had disappointed her but it was too late.
She tapped her foot. Waited for me to start. I had no idea where to begin. Facing her, I was facing the editor in The Devil Wears Prada . She expected me to know exactly what she wanted and not to ask any questions. Asking a question would prove my inadequacy.
As I opened my mouth, my eyebrows arched and gave away my complete loss. She’s too sharp. Before I could say a word she pointed to the couch below the window, held my eye and screamed. At me.
It’s 3:47 a.m. She is 19 months old. She is my daughter. Her name is Iris.
And she can’t go to sleep.
Not that it matters. I was awake anyway.
The weeks leading into summer are always distracting. I can’t focus any time I am anticipating something. Everything is “As soon as X starts.” or “As soon as Y is finished.” That means that Z sits in front of me, blinking expectantly, as I blink back with an only slightly apologetic smile.
I have so much I want to do but can’t seem to get started until summer begins. Then, as soon as summer starts and all of the kids are home, I won’t want to do anything because, “Hey, it’s summer!”
Distraction comes easily. My mind alternates between “Flowers!” and “Coffee…” and “Kids!” and “Write. Write, damn you.”
I wake up in the middle of the night and crave coffee. I wake up in the middle of the night to crawl into bed with Grey on the bottom bunk, his warm body still so small and not resistant to cuddling as much as his older brother’s. I wake up in the middle of the night and design gardens in my head. Write narratives in my head, knowing they will evaporate if I close my eyes.
I make decisions on Sundays.
This flower problem began a few Sundays ago. After habitually soaking in CBS Sunday Morning over a cup of coffee, I put Iris down for nap and left the boys to their own peril long enough for me to sneak out for a proper indulgent cup of Starbucks. Windows down, the air was too enticing to not fudge on my promised return time.
I wandered out to Pine Hills Nursery in Pass Christian, MS, murmuring the lie that I was just going to look around while I drank my coffee.
I’m just going to look. Take in the smells and maybe touch the blooms a little bit. It probably wouldn’t hurt anyone if I grouped a few plants to see how they look together.
I’m definitely not going to load the back of my car with a full garden.
I tell good lies to myself.
This spring has me enamored with growth. I am absorbing every drop of youth my children are giving off and snatching every ray of sunshine. I am tending to seeds of ideas and anticipating their blooms.
Gardening, for me, is a constant grazing of “too much” and “too little.” I seem to get it right only when I stop trying to control it. Let it do what it will. All it seems to want from me is the warmth of my gaze.
It is 4:00 a.m. and I lie on the couch in the dark with my Iris on my chest. Her wrinkled purple silky is curled in her fist and she is sucking on two fingers, completely content.
I’m more than happy to share a cutting with you. My garden is full.